On April 23, my latest book was released. It’s entitled Love Is The Way! (Ten Steps to Discovering Personal Happiness). On May 19, in his wedding homily to Harry and Meghan, Bishop Michael Curry used the phrase “love is the way” fifteen times. I should send him a copy of my book with an enthusiastic word of thanks for the global PR!
What Bishop Curry articulated in his wedding message to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and what I have written about in the new book, is the fundamental truth of how to make life work on this small spinning orb called Earth. Whatever one’s faith may be, every Holy Book underscores the importance of putting love into practice on a daily basis. For those who adhere to no religious faith, the writings of poets and philosophers across the ages issue the same call. And simple observation emphatically concludes that when love is the way, we consistently reach the best destinations.
Before one dismisses all this merely as syrupy sentimentalism, let me be quick to add that loving is one of the most difficult of all human endeavors. It so radically transcends what we see in Hollywood or Hallmark that almost no comparisons can be made between real love and its popular depictions. The discipline of daily loving requires that in every moment of decision-making and subsequent action, we ask the question: “Is this the loving thing to say or do?”
Apply that question as you will: How we speak to other people … how we speak about other people … how we make our money … how we spend (or use) our money … how we approach relationships, marriage, and parenting … how we treat employees, co-workers, and customers … what we do with hurt (whether to seek revenge or extend forgiveness) … what we do with guilt (whether to deny or apologize) … how we relate to those who are different from us or who make relating a challenge … and the list goes on. In each of those cases and countless others, the loving thing to do is rarely the easy thing to do. And yet, only when we choose the difficult discipline of loving does the possibility for positive and productive results exist.
If those who govern would ask that question before threatening military actions or determining policies or writing tweets, how different could our world become? “Is this the loving thing to say or do?” Were that a standard for decision-making in the halls of governments, there would be no more war, no more missile building, no more nuclear threats, no more persecutions or genocide. Peace would not simply be possible, it would become almost inevitable.
If individuals would ask that question consistently and with conviction, there would be no more school shootings or Me Too experiences or racism or trafficking or abuse of the very young, the very old, or the very vulnerable. Arguably (and even this is debatable), physical illness and natural disasters might not be dramatically impacted if we were to decide that love is the way to do our living. But, relational illnesses and societal disasters could be dramatically diminished in such fashion that fear-based living would be transformed into community-based living.
Why have we refused so long to travel the one way we know can lead to life? I think that is because the way of love is difficult, a narrow, long and winding, uphill road. Questions like “What’s in it for me?” have to be disposed of, and others questions like “How can I be in it for others?” have to be embraced. But we have seen persons who made that decision, and we know the influence their lives have and the joy their lives exude. Clearly we cannot wait for the world to get on board. But you and I possess the option to commit to the way of daily loving. And in so doing, our personal lights can shatter a bit of the world’s darkness, our influence can help change the course of things while there is still time, and our own sense of happiness will make the efforts worth the costs involved. If we want to get to where we need to be, love is the way.